Church of England Condemns Sony over Cathedral Setting in Resistance: Fall of Man

June 10, 2007 -

Is a church a public space?

As reported by the Manchester Evening News, leaders of the Church of England don't think so, at least not as far as violent video game depictions are concerned.

CoE officials are up in arms over the depiction of Manchester Cathedral as a setting for battles in Resistance: Fall of Man, a best-selling PS3 launch title. Said the Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch:

It is well known that Manchester has a gun crime problem. For a global manufacturer to re-create one of our great Cathedrals with photo-realistic quality and then encourage people to have guns battles in the building is beyond belief and highly irresponsible.

Here in Manchester we do all we can to support communities through our parish clergy, we know the reality of gun crime and the devastating effects it can have on the lives - it is not a trivial matter.


Patsy McKie, who lost a 17-year-old son to Manchester gun violence told the BBC:

 

I believe it's something that needs to be taken seriously first by the Church but also by parents. We're actually fighting for the minds of our children. There's a war going on - not just in Iraq, but right here on our doorstep - for the minds of our children.


A Sony spokesman said:

It is game-created footage, it is not video or photography. It is entertainment, like Doctor Who or any other science fiction. It is not based on reality at all. Throughout the whole process we have sought permission where necessary.


A company press release added:

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is aware of the concerns expressed by the Bishop of Manchester and the cathedral authorities... and we naturally take the concerns very seriously.


Church officials want an apology and the removal of Resistance from store shelves. Otherwise, they've threatened legal action. The BBC has a video report.

GP Poll: What are your thoughts on this controversy? Vote in the latest GamePolitics poll, located in the upper right sidebar.


Comments

I'm curious as to what "Legal Action" is even available here.

what the fuck? there are hundreds of movies,tv shows and books that have violent scenes in churchs, yet they fail to acknowlege them. why do stupid people have to be so damn stupid?

Isn't Resistance a kind of scifi-ey take on armageddon? Would that not make a battle in a cathedral almost... appropriate? Aren't you trying to reclaim scared ground from the demon^H^H^H^H^Halien invaders?

I can't count the number of times churches have appeared in violent movies, but glancing at my small DVD collection reveals Kill Bill and Silent Hill just for starters. Is the act of using religious grounds for violent scenes supposed to juxtapose the ideas of peace and war for artistic benefit? As well as allowing for cool destruction of very nice architecture, of course.

Just wait until they hear about Hellgate London.

How faithful (no pun intended) is the recreation of Manchester Cathedral in the game? Making it very realistic and encouraging gun battles inside is pushing the envelope of bad taste, but art isn't about playing safe. Besides, we've seen violent scenes recreated in movies around countless real-world monuments and buildings, but there aren't a great many games that do the same thing. We're used to playing around "inspired" versions but not really faithful recreations of real places.

I want the minds of your children, their brains are delicious even though they may be small.

Stop buying children violent games please, thanks.

not going to happen

I'd love to see the headlines for something like that though:
"Resistance quashed by church officials"
"Courts rule Church can takes game off the shelf"

But seriously.. Apart from the teneous 'link' between real gun crime and using god knows what kind of videogame weapons to blast aliens into their constituent atoms, isn't this a bit late?

The game was released 3 months ago in Europe, more than 6 months ago in the US and Japan. Banning the game wouldn't do any good, as it's already out there. Also.. how would they really have created a photo-realistic cathedral without knowledge or even help from the church officials? It's not that blueprints are that easy to aquire, unless they snuck in some measuring crews after mass, or something.

Is it really a true recreation of the place, or just a more generic church like rendered enviroment that got the name of the Manchester Cathedral. (judging by the reactions I'd think it was the first.. but it wouldn't be my first wrong assumption) Anyone sure on that?

"Yes as long as they stay out of our church we dont care what they show. But when WE are shown OH NO YOU DIDN'T!

It could be worse, they could have put Jesus in the cathedral being gang raped by aliens.

Postal 2 had a church, no one said a thing, hence, this church's argument is null and void.

*shock* no comment on where you got this news from GP ?? :P
if you found out before it before us forum trolls(me and Grahamr) found it thats fine.


as for the topic at hand movies generally need permission to film at locations if not hey can wing it and build your own even if they found public documents regarding the blue prints I have a feelign its public domain as much as building your own.

To everybody who's asking, "if other games have churches without legal threats, why is this particular instance a problem?" it's almost certainly because Resistance doesn't feature a generic "church", it features specifically Manchester Cathedral.

Still, I think the CoE is over-reacting. 99% of the people who'll ever play the game won't be aware that the building in the game is a recreation of a real one - hell, most players probably wouldn't even consider that the devs went to the trouble.

I can't see what legal rights the Church would have over the building's image, though. I assume they'd have to grant permission for filming inside the premises, but over a virtual reconstruction of the place? It looks like shaky ground to me, but then who knows what way a court would decide?

So, umm, yea, isn't it already illegal to sell the game to young children? But now they want it removed from shelves entirely so that nobody can buy it? And we're supposed to believe it when politicians and massacre-chasing lawyers say they're only trying to "protect kids?"

The breathless reporting in TFA is entertaining though. ^_^

a virtual shoot-out between rival gunman with hundreds killed during a gun battle inside the cathedral in an orgy of blood.

@TerribleTom

I'd play that game.

"It is well known that Manchester has a gun crime problem. For a global manufacturer to re-create one of our great Cathedrals with photo-realistic quality and then encourage people to have guns battles in the building is beyond belief and highly irresponsible."

Would they prefer that instead of virtually fighting a fictional threat in the cathedral, they instead allow people to really shoot it up for no reason?

Because if there is a gun problem in the area, and the focus is being turned away from it to a fictional occurance, then that's pretty much what's being said.

It would seem that the Church of England welcomes our new Chimera overlords.

Without taking jabs at anyone's faith, I'd have to say that the Church of England are pretty ignorant.

From what I can gather, Playstation 3s cannot turn into an assault rifles.

Just like NYC's negative reaction against GTAIV, this is another result of people still believing that video games are just for kids.

I mean, heaven forbid that players actually see a real place and maybe learn something about famous landmarks. Nope, it's just fictional castles and fields for you!

I might be a bit behind the times here, but didn't Resistance come out in November? And here we are in June?

So either the Church of England wants to get their name in the paper to cash in on the current 'blame video game' fad, or they're really bad at the game and they just made it to the cathedral level after almost 7 months of playing

"There’s a war going on - not just in Iraq, but right here on our doorstep - for the minds of our children.
Oh lord, comparing a mere video game to the Iraq war is shameless, utterly shameless.

I was watching those bandwagon jumping mediawhores from mothers against violence talking about this and they said that it was about time somebody stood up to the makers of violent games.

I couldn't help but wonder why they aren't standing up to the real thugs and criminals wo are selling and sing guns on the streets in the first place.

Wasn't Europe just saything how they want cultural refrences in games? Now they are crying because of it.

Yea, that's right guys, me and Zippy brought this story to dennis' attension!(sp?)

I still remember when the church in america tried to regulate movie content.

Thank you very much Church of England for making Christianity look even more out of touch with today's society as well as giving the fanatical militant atheists more ammunition to attack us with. It's things like this that cause people to lump all Christians into one group and catagory. You're not helping the faith, you're hurting it. Please stop.
Just a message from a liberal/libertarian Christian that who says we should focus on Christ's positives teachings and messages of love, peace and equality rather then focusing on damnation and trying to ban and attack things we may find offensive.

Sorry, superstitious morons, we value free expression over excessively whiny dogma inspired by bronze-aged tribesmen who worshipped a genocidal war god. Take a look at your own Holy text, sometime. The God of Murder contained in those pages has been depicted as killing more humans, in more ways than most can envision, than every violent video game combined.

Don't like it? Don't play it. Go back to worshipping your genocidal God of Murder, Hate, and Contradictions. Apparently it's okay to worship a being who has killed over 5 billion humans, plans to do more, and permits the eternal torture of people... But... oh my gosh, permit a violent video game!! Run!!!

I hate the superstitious and backward days we live in.

Although I don't agree with the church going on about gun crime and demanding it be removed from the shelves.. I can understand that, if it really is a faithful recreation of their cathedral, they might not like it.

I wouldn't like it if someone took a copy of my home or place of business without me knowing and put it into a video game.

Well, I have a slightly different take. The church has no case, and Sony has a right to publish the game as is. Playing the game is not going to convince a normal adult to take a real assault rifle into a church and shoot it up. And it's a mature rating so kids aren't supposed to be playing it. There is no logical connection between playing this game and shooting up the real cathedral. HOWEVER, I do think setting the game in a church is in poor taste. As for there being depictions in movies and books of shootouts in churches, a) that doesn't make it any less tasteless and b) movies and books often have a stronger narrative structure to explain or justify the settings. I haven't seen Resistance so I don't know if there is a strong narrative structure to back it up or not.

Game developers have the right to make any material they want. But don't be surprised when someone complains about something in poor taste. Video games have the same free speech as other expressions but that doesn't mean everyone has to like what you say. And ignorant people will use the material to castrate the whole gaming community. I don't support censorship of games but sometimes it seems we practically give the anti-game lobbies the ammunition they need. Sometimes it seems things are thrown into games purely to up the shock value. That's fine to put it in there but we need to be able to say that putting it in there is worth the backlash. There are so many wonderful non-violent video games out there that get overshadowed by the GTAs and the Manhunts of the world, and it is a shame because thanks to the anti-game lobby, fueled by these examples, the general public now has a poor opinion of games in general. The church may be out of touch with society, but so are we if we don't realize that adding tasteless material for the sake of mere shock is enabling the critics to bash ALL video games.

"I believe it’s something that needs to be taken seriously first by the Church but also by parents. We’re actually fighting for the minds of our children. There’s a war going on - not just in Iraq, but right here on our doorstep - for the minds of our children."

No, there is Not.

The very fact that you choose to blind yourself from the truth - that videogames have the exactly same mind altering effects on any healthy youth as books, cartoon comics, rock and roll, elvis presley, radio, electricity, ballet AND televisions have - just blatantly shows your complete disregard for the children YOU so claim to fight for, and instead reveals just how much You want a simple ScapeGoat to BLAME for your own loss...

"The very fact that you choose to blind yourself from the truth - that videogames have the exactly same mind altering effects on any healthy youth as books, cartoon comics, rock and roll, elvis presley, radio, electricity, ballet AND televisions have - just blatantly shows your complete disregard for the children YOU so claim to fight for, and instead reveals just how much You want a simple ScapeGoat to BLAME for your own loss…"

Which would be nothing as their is no proof that violent media (any of it) has any mind-altering effects on children whatsoever.

@TLT
how is having the battle set inside a church automatically tastless? Up to that point (and probably throughout the entire game) you do not kill humans, instead you kill aliens bent on infecting and invading the entire world. You're not killing priests or ministers or churchgoers but instead aliens. The whole town has moslty been evacuated, killed, or quarantined off at that point anyway, so what difference does it make? I also believe (correct me if The church level is not tasteless in fact it may have meaning. In that single level you are swarmed by so many enemies it's almost rediculous.

This is just dumb, and I'm going to use an adapted version of Gamespot's Jeff Gertsman to infer from this. If i drew a church in my city, then drew a mushroom cloud coming from it, would then church freak out from on me?

??? Ok apparently it posted that before I was done typing, I wanted to say that at the church level you go there because it is a makeshift base, (or was) and then you get overrun (and to correct me if I'm wrong). Also the game is set in the 1940s so the whole gun problem thing may be a moot point.

Also these types of people make me sick, where the heck do these people spawn from anyway?

This is just dumb, and I'm going to use an adapted version of Gamespot's Jeff Gertsman quote to infer from this. If i drew a church in my city, then drew a mushroom cloud coming from it, would then church freak out from on me?

Who really freakin' cares? The church has better things to worry about.

Out of curiosity, did anybody scream when there was massive demon slaughtering going on inside Notre Dame in Onimusha 3?

FatherTime:

Having it in a church is automatically tasteless because in religious contexts, churches are sacred spaces. To bring killing into them automatically profanes them. This is a tenet that goes back hundreds of years. The church isn't going to make a distinction between killing people and killing aliens- they probably can't grasp the concept. They don't care if the level is about saving the church by killing the aliens as they invade the church. The simple truth for them is that to show a profane act in a sacred space is sacriligious and this game does that in their eyes.

To simply call the church stupid for feeling that way means not even trying to take into account their viewpoint- whether we agree with it or not. As gamers, if our reflexive response is just to dismiss the viewpoint of everyone who doesn't agree with us, then we have shut down dialogue with the rest of society, and run the risk of being as intolerant and narrow-minded as Jack Thompson. And we will lose opportunities to have a true dialogue with the rest of society and to show non-gamers that we aren't a bunch of homocidal freaks. I'm not saying I agree with their stance or that anyone else should, but I can see where they are coming from even if I dsagree with them.

Another proof that the Christians are nothing but extreeme hypocrites.

Wow, if this is a problem I can only begin to wonder the kind of shit storm that would follow if you had a story where every city important to the 3 major religions were destroyed.

"I believe it’s something that needs to be taken seriously first by the Church but also by parents. We’re actually fighting for the minds of our children. There’s a war going on - not just in Iraq, but right here on our doorstep - for the minds of our children."

Is the Iraq War the new Godwin's Law?

A public building is not copyright.

There is no image copyright on a floorplan.

Next you'll be telling me I have to pay the city where I live if I want to make a sketch of scenery.

Utterly ridiculous.

Makes you wonder who would be the most pissed of if Jersualem was blown up - Christians, Muslims, or Jews. Probably the Jews, although the Muslims would likely cause the most collateral damage.

"It is well known that Manchester has a gun crime problem. For a global manufacturer to re-create one of our great Cathedrals with photo-realistic quality and then encourage people to have guns battles in the building is beyond belief and highly irresponsible."

Wait a second. Doesn't England have some of the more stricter gun control laws? When did this happen.

I always thought that gun crime in England was rare. As I once heard Robin Williams say, "In England if you commit a crime, the police don't have a gun and you don't have a gun. So if you commit a crime it's, 'Stop! Or I'll say stop again!"

Still, I agree with everyone else. The game's been out for several months and only now do they get up in arms about it? Yes, it really does make them look very out of touch. And trying to get the game banned or pulled now would do no good now as it's practically a fait accompli.

@ TLT

And yet, every other movie/game that have had churches in them, many WW2 games and movies (Saving Private Ryan), were completely and utterly fine, because of why? Oh, right... It's a VIOLENT VIDEJOGAME MACHINE!

Bullshit, that's what it is. Hypocrisy, THAT is what it is.

And if this is fighting FOR the minds of the children, to Save Them from the oh so demonized media, to save them from the outside world that's apparently so bad it must be purged from the minds of everyone who's not a sick pervert..

To shelter them to the point where the youths will inevitably have to move out into a world that's been hidden from their eyes, a world they will have no chance to prepare for, or even understand, because of the overzealous beliefs of 'protection' that these loons have...


Then I'd rather be Lost.

I've played Resistance all the way through many times, and never once did this issue even occur to me. There's no narrative leading up to the church, the whole game takes placed in an apocalyptic England. The Church scene is actually really short, and you're only in the Church for the first part of the level. Plus, your fighting aliens, not people. It is in no way connected to the real world at all. I'm so sick of the Church blaming everybody for anything that slightly ticks them off. They're just making fools out of themselves.

I've got an idea, let's make a video game where you live in a society that thinks women who have skill at medicine are evil and should be burned at the stake. That way, surely, such a persecuted group could be taken to the church and the priest would protect them and thank them for trying to help God's Children, therefore projecting a good image of the church?

Oh....wait.....

And while I think of it, Canterbury Catherdral is famous for having fighting taking place in the nave, Thomas Beckett anyone?

There is no possible way that the Church of England would actually WIN.
No matter how many people are offended about something, the Streisand Effect will come about and bite the offended in the ass. South Park is a perfect examlpe.

/\ Sorry, meant to say example.
EDIT BUTTON!

personally i think the church is just ill-informed about this,
i think they consider all FPS or action games to be "Killing simulators" becuase of some of the things Mr. Thompson and other anti-game activists.
Taking this in mind, i can see why they would be offended by this.
They need to take a step back and actually take a look at the game, that it is not some "Killing simulator" and that it probably has so effect whatsoever on gun crime in Manchester.

I find it hilarious that they are trying to ban Resistance in the first place, it seems rather tame to me compared with some other games out there. It seems to be just another generic shooter with cartoon, alien violence just like Halo. Its hardly discustingly violent like Manhunt or other such titles.

Anti-Videogame activists just need to take a step back and smell the roses and actually think about what they are saying. That woman who lost her child has just found a scapegoat and wants to exploit it to ease her loss. Her son was probably shot in some gangland related shooting or something. I doubt the shooter was a Resistance player or such.

I would love to hold a debate with an Anti-videogame activist, Jack Thompson or otherwise as i'd love to hear their views and give them my own opinion on them. They may have some valid points, but what it mostly boils down to is their ability not to accept that videogames are NOT plainly marketed for children, that Manhunt and other such violent games are made and marketed for adults. It is the responability of the retailers and parents to ensure these games do NOT fall into childrens hands. I for one deny my brother access to all my games with a rating of teen or higher.

The solution that these activists are looking for does not lie with the videogames, but the people responsible for the access to these videogames.

so it's final. In no way shape or form can any video game ever look even remotely like the planet we live on or planets around us.

One thing I find strange is the platform the game is on, in relation to them claiming it will inspire gun crime.

Most gun crime in England I would imagine is related to drugs and gangs (or both). How often will a drug lord or drug addict pay almost 500 pounds sterling for a PS3 and copy of the game? If you are a drug addict, your money will only go on drugs, not very expensive hardware/software. If you are a drug lord/dealer, you probably have the money to buy and play the game, but you got it via crime and drug dealing, meaning that trying to blame the game for your violence is like blaming wet ground for the rain that happened earlier.

Like has been said already, many films have depicted gun battles and violence in churches. Once again, video are singled out as different somehow. I believe that the Church of England has looked at all of the existing fuss and lies in the media about video games and their (non-existent) link to violence. Then they have seen how parents react. Then they have thought to themselves, "Hmm, Sony probably have some pretty deep pockets!"

This is blatant opportunism, using a silly issue like this to try and drum up support and/or money for their church, in a time when the church is less and less relevant in people's lives.

This is blasphemy. This is madness!

Madness? This is VIDEO GAMES!!

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